State lawmakers plan to reform California bail system

Lawmakers have just revealed a reform plan which will change how counties in California set up bail for defendants.

The new plan would give some power from judges to pretrial services agencies to better see if the defendants are a risk to public safety if released.

“The bottom line is we are trying to get to the point that the determining factor for pretrial release is not the size of your wallet, but the nature of your risk,” said Sen. Bob Hertzberg.

Both Hertzberg and Assemblyman Rob Bonta have brought together organizations and other lawmakers to put the bail reform into motion. Also under the new measure, paying money for bail wouldn’t entirely disappear. Instead, the bail would be required to be set based on the criminal defendant’s income.

However, those arrested and charged for violent crimes and offenses would continue to be held in jail until their arraignment.

Also on the new bill, the counties would have to take responsibility to remind the defendants of their court dates, track inmates and offer them support.

The bill is expected to receive a negative response and opposition at the Capitol because a previous legislation that was meant to determine the risk level of a defendant failed.

At the moment, there is still no determined cost on pretrial services and even the cost to taxpayers if the bill is passed.

“They are not people who forgot to bring their library books back on time…We can’t allow these people to return on a promise. It doesn’t work. It has never worked,” said Wendy Zamutt, owner of a bail bond business located in San Diego.

There are some counter-arguments that claim there could be savings in the long-term since counties won’t have to pay to keep a large number of defendants in jail.

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